Like frangipani blossoms after a stiff breeze,
villas litter the ground of South Bali. Often
they land in the midst of rice paddies seem-
ingly overnight. The villa boom has been quite
controversial for environmental, aesthetic
and economic reasons (see p61). Many skip
collecting government taxes from guests
which has raised the ire of their luxury hotel
Most villas are available for longer stays. At
the minimum they have a kitchen, living room
and private garden, and often two or more
bedrooms, so they are suitable for a family or
a group of friends.
But many villas go far beyond the norm.
Some are literally straight out of the pages of
Architectural Digest and other design maga-
zines and come with pools, views, beaches and
more. Often the houses are staffed and you
have the services of a cook, driver etc. Some
villas are part of developments - common
in Seminyak - and may be linked to a hotel,
which gives you access to additional services.
Others are free-standing homes in rural areas
such as the coast around Canggu.
Rates typically can range anywhere from
US$500 for a modest villa to US$4000 per
week and beyond for your own tropical
estate. There are often deals, especially in
the low-season. And for longer stays, you
can find deals easily for US$700 a month.
Look in the Bali Advertiser (www.baliad
vertiser.biz) and on bulletin boards popular
with expats such as the ones at Café Moka
in Seminyak (p120) and Bali Buddha in
Ubud ( p195 ).
You can save quite a bit by waiting until the
last minute, but during the high season the best
villas can book up months in advance. The fol-
lowing agencies are among the many in Bali.
Bali Villas (
definitely offer some gifts, like bottled water,
sweets or fruit. If they give you a meal, it is
even more important to make an offer of
payment or gifts. It's a very good idea to take
a Balinese friend or guide to help facilitate
introductions, and to ensure that you make
as few cultural faux pas as possible.
A good way to arrange a village stay is
through the JED Village Ecotourism Network,
see p348 for details.
Government office hours in Bali and Lombok
are roughly from 8am to 3pm Monday to
Thursday and from 8am to noon on Friday,
but they are not completely standardised.
Postal agencies will often keep longer hours,
and the main post offices are often open
every day (from about 8am to 2pm Monday
to Thursday and 8am to noon Friday; in the
larger tourist centres, the main post offices
are often open on weekends). Banking hours
are generally from 8am to 2pm Monday to
Thursday, from 8am to noon Friday and from
8am to about 11am Saturday. The banks enjoy
many public holidays.
In this topic it is assumed that restaurants
and cafés are usually open about 8am to 10pm
daily. Shops and services catering to tourists
are open from 9am to about 8pm. Where
the hours vary from these, they are noted
in the text.
Travelling with anak-anak (children) any-
where requires energy and organisation (see
Lonely Planet's Travel with Children by Cathy
Lanigan), but in Bali the problems are lessened
by the Balinese affection for children. They
believe that children come straight from God,
and the younger they are, the closer they are to
God. To the Balinese, children are considered
part of the community and everyone, not just
the parents, has a responsibility towards them.
If a child cries, the Balinese get most upset and
insist on finding a parent and handing the
child over with a reproachful look. Sometimes
they despair of uncaring Western parents, and
the child will be whisked off to a place where
it can be cuddled, cosseted and fed. In tourist
areas this is less likely, but it's still common in
in any Western child they meet. You will have
to learn your child's age and sex in Bahasa
Indonesia - bulau (month), tahun (year), laki-
laki (boy) and perempuan (girl). You should
also make polite inquiries about the other
person's children, present or absent.
Lombok is generally quieter than Bali and
the traffic is much less dangerous. People are
fond of kids, but less demonstrative about
it than the Balinese. The main difference
is that services for children are much less
after themselves in the water then they must
be supervised - don't expect local people to
act as life-savers.
On Bali, the sorts of facilities, safeguards
and services that Western parents regard as
basic may not be present. Not many restau-
rants provide a highchair; many places with
great views have nothing to stop your kids
falling over the edge and shops often have
breakable things at kiddie height.
WHAT TO BRING
Apart from those items mentioned in the
Health chapter (p364), bring some infant
analgesic, antilice shampoo, a medicine meas-
ure and a thermometer.
You can take disposable nappies (diapers)
with you, but they're widely available in Bali
and to a lesser degree on Lombok.
For small children, bring a folding stroller
or pusher, or you will be condemned to having
them on your knee constantly, at meals and
everywhere else. However, it won't be much
use for strolling, as there are few paved foot-
paths that are wide and smooth enough. A
papoose or a backpack carrier is a much easier
way to move around with children.
Some equipment, such as snorkelling gear
and boogie boards, can be rented easily in the
tourist centres. A simple camera, or a couple
of the throwaway ones, will help your child
feel like a real tourist.
A hotel with a swimming pool, air-con and a
beachfront location is fun for kids and very
convenient, and provides a good break for the
parents. Sanur, Nusa Dua and Lovina are all
good places for kids as the surf is placid and
the streets quieter than the Kuta area.
Most places, at whatever price level, have a
'family plan', which means that children up to
about 12 years old can share a room with their
parents free of charge. The catch is that hotels
may charge for extra beds, although some
offer family rooms. If you need more space,
just rent a separate room for the kids.
As noted in the text, many top-end hotels
offer special programmes or supervised ac-
tivities for kids, and where this isn't the case,
most hotels can arrange a baby-sitter.
Hotel and restaurant staff are usually very
willing to help and improvise, so always ask if
you need something for your children.
Sights & Activities
Many of the things that adults want to do
on Bali will not interest their children. Have
days when you do what they want, to offset
the times you drag them to shops or temples.
Encourage them to learn about the islands so
they can understand and enjoy more of what
Water play is always fun - you can often
use hotel pools, even if you're not staying
there. Waterbom Park in Tuban (p102) is
a big hit with most kids. If your kids can
swim, they can have a lot of fun with a mask
and snorkel. Colourful kites are sold in
shops and market stalls; get some string at a
Other activities popular with kids include
visiting Taman Burung Bali Bird Park and
The same rules apply as for adults - kids
should drink only clean water and eat only
well-cooked food or fruit that you have
peeled yourself. If you're travelling with a
young baby, breast-feeding is much easier
than bottles. For older babies, mashed ba-
nanas, eggs, peelable fruit and bubur (rice
cooked to a mush in chicken stock) are all
generally available. In tourist areas, super-
markets do sell jars of Western baby food and
packaged UHT milk and fruit juice. Bottled
drinking water is available everywhere. Bring
plastic bowls, plates, cups and spoons for
Elite Havens (
Exotiq Real Estate (
House of Bali (
In remote villages, you can often find a place
to stay by asking the kepala desa ( village chief
or headman) and it will usually be a case of